With their most important bit of offseason business (re-signing Victor Martinez) wrapped up, the Detroit Tigers can now turn their attention to other needs. These needs used to include adding an outfielder, but Anthony Gose’s acquisition seems to have satisfied that. Re-signing the rehabbing Joel Hanrahan will help strengthen the bullpen, which was and still is another need, if the former Pittsburgh closer is healthy. Still, more bullpen additions can be expected.

If the team does sign free agents to fill the need, or goes after trade targets to achieve the same purpose, it wouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. But history tells us that the Tigers general manager makes transactions that shock just about anyone—generally making deals to acquire premium players at positions where an upgrade isn’t necessary. Past examples include signing Ivan Rodriguez and dealing for Miguel Cabrera and David Price.

After re-signing Victor Martinez and handing out arbitration raises to standout performers like Price and J.D. Martinez, the Tigers will have little wiggle room financially. This shouldn’t dissuade any thoughts of Detroit making a big move.

In December of 2009, Dombrowski sent Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson packing in a three-team trade with the Yankees and Diamondbacks to avoid giving them hefty raises and to alleviate pressure on the salary cap. The deal allowed the Tigers the room to sign lockdown closer Jose Valverde. The trade also brought Austin Jackson and Max Scherzer to Motown. The moral of the story is that Dave Dombrowski knows how to make impact moves on a tight budget.

Detroit’s general manager is already helped by the fact that the collective salaries of Torii Hunter, Don Kelly, Phil Coke and Joba Chamberlain have come off the books, thus giving him some wiggle room. While a percentage of that money was likely allocated to Victor Martinez and saved for arbitration rises, it still creates cash.

Dombrowski knows how to make his team younger, with the Granderson/Scherzer deal serving as a chief example. He has already acquired a young, controllable player with considerable upside in Gose and may not be done dealing.

Already, rumors are swirling about potential Tigers moves. The latest involves listening to trade offers for catcher Alex Avila. Dealing Avila would seem unconventional for a couple of reasons, one being the fact that Avila works well with Detroit’s starting pitchers. A second is that defensively the catcher grades out positively, while bringing power to the lineup as a left-handed hitter. Thirdly, the next catchers in line for the Tigers are backup Bryan Holaday and prospect James McCann.

Dealing Avila would mean that Detroit either has another deal lined up/in the works for a cheaper catcher they feel is an upgrade or that they feel McCann is ready to take the next step and start full-time.

Despite all the potential negatives, sending Avila to another team comes with benefits. The first would be wiping his salary from the books—Avila will make $5.4 million next season. The second would mean that the team could move on from a player who has been seriously affected by injuries.

Avila is still a starting catcher in the major leagues and certainly brings positive attributes to the table, but he isn’t what he once was. His finest hour came in 2011, when he posted an .895 OPS and drove in 82 runs. Injures soon ran rampant on Avila’s offensive production. Starting with the 2011 postseason, where he hit .063 against New York in and .080 against Texas.  The catcher has hit a combined .235 since 2011.

With surprise moves becoming the norm this offseason, (thanks to the Jason Heyward/Shelby Miller trade and the Mets signing of Michael Cuddyer), it wouldn’t be a shock to see the baseball landscape rocked by an unlikely Dombrowski trade. He’s turned potential salary cap burdens into, among others, a Cy Young winner (Max Scherzer) and a player used to acquire yet another player with a Cy Young on his resume (David Price).

It’s unknown if Alex Avila’s name will appear in the transactions logs due to a trade, but it wouldn’t be surprising. Neither would be a conceivable, cost-cutting trade of a player like Rajai Davis. The bottom line is that Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers front office know what they are doing, and with the offseason in full swing (pun!), the ball is in their court.


All stats courtesy of http://www.baseball-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com